Without football in the fall, Limon football players band together to resurrect the school's boys golf program

(Photo courtesy of Sherri Smithburg)

Two weeks ago, Kory Tacha received the news that he and his Limon teammates had been fearing. High school football was getting moved to the spring to increase the chances of getting a complete season in the books.

The reigning Class 1A football player of the year had a normal reaction to the news. He was heartbroken. But he quickly decided that he wasn't one to just sit around and wallow. He and his teammates, who have won the past two 1A championships, knew they needed something to do this fall. They had to compete. So they went to the school and asked if they could restart the Limon golf program.

"I cannot feel sorry for myself," Tacha said. "I had to do something about it and we talked to a couple of coaches and asked if we could start a golf team. It got passed by the board and we all decided to go out for golf."

(Photo courtesy of Sherri Smithburg)

Assistant football and baseball coach Andy Love, a Limon alum, asked the administration if it was possible to get a team together and he even offered to coach. They got approval and with just a few practices under their belt, the Badgers hit the links.

Unlike what the boys were used to on the football field or even the basketball court, golf isn't coming easy to them. But at their core, the kids are competitors and if someone like Tacha can break tackles and drag someone into the endzone, he isn't going to let a small, dimpled ball get the better of him.

At the team's first tournament, the Yuma Invitational, Camden Smithburg led the team with a 23-over-par 95 to finish in 16th place. Tacha shot 104 and realized right away that football might demanding physically, but golf presents every bit the challenge from an emotional standpoint.

"I have a lot more respect for golfers now than I did before," Tacha said. "It's a very different game and it's very taxing mentally."

For Love, he loves seeing a group of kids willing to go out and battle in a venue that's unfamiliar to them. The importance to him as a coach of multiple sports is making sure that the kids are doing something as the state awaits the return of the majority of sports in January.

"Sports are our lifeline," Love said. "That's what people do on Friday and Saturday nights. Our community follows our sports so strongly. It gives our kids this great atmosphere and environment whether it's the football field, the basketball court or whatever. Our community rallies around our kids."

And they rally around the ability to compete together. There is talk about trying to improve enough to reach the state tournament. Love's attitude with the team is that it should enter every season with the intention of winning a state title. For the first year of the relaunched golf program, he'd be thrilled to a see couple kids find their way to Dos Rios Country Club in Gunnison.

For the kids, they're just happy that they're getting back to competition and finding a way to battle together as they wait for football to return.

"I enjoy where I am," Tacha said. "I've been going to school with the same buddies since we were four years old. One last season would mean the world to me."

(Photo courtesy of Sherri Smithburg)